Chris Clark - Clarence Park
Chris Clark (aka Clark) is a musician who I didn't appreciate until he released the magnificent Body Riddle in late 2006. In my opinion though, it is his debut released in 2001 which I find the best.... and this is why.
Firstly, every single track off it I find amazing, except maybe A Laugh With Hills which is still very good. I find it rare for an album to not only hold my attention throughout, but also to never have a moment where the skip button becomes an appealing choice.
This is even more impressive when you consider the range of styles on offer.
The album is perfectly paced. Starting with the heartfelt piano piece Pleen 1930s to relax the listener only to startle with the two percussion heavy tracks, The Dogs with its intense groaning sample, and Proper Lofi which threatens to enter rave track only to never reach it. Then Oaklands acts to calm the album down, only for the atmosphere to, again, drastically change with Bricks. The album continues to get darker, with three brooding ambient tracks Caveman Lament, Fossil Paste and Shrewland all placed near the conclusion on the album. The 23 second closing piano of Nostalgic Oblong is perfectly contrasting to what is heard just prior to it.
In between this is also the unexpected happy-go-lucky feel of Lord of the Dance which contrasts to the darkness and melancholy filling up the rest of the album.
Somehow, even with the schizophrenic mood, it holds together perfectly when listened to from start to finish. I find it fits together in a masterful way.
Really, I think Clarence Park is a near perfect album, and one that shows the range and scope of electronic music. His production in all the different styles on show is consistently incredible. The album takes a while to grow on you, but after a few listens you'll find it impossible to stop listening.
If I had to mention the best tracks on the album, I would say they are Lord of the Dance, Pleen 1930s, Caveman Lament, Proper Lofi and
Diesel Raven, though every track can easily stand on its own.
A somewhat under-appreciated album, if you have any interest in the music of artists like:
Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Matmos or really any music which is a little different, and don't mind instrumentals, then buy this album.
Really, do it